HARRISBURG – Backyard gardeners, full-time farmers and landscaping professionals can be assured the seeds used for planting in Pennsylvania are of the highest quality due to the state’s rigorous standards, said Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding as his department released the 2009-10 Pennsylvania Seed Report.
“As we enter the fall planting season for some vegetables, cover crops, and winter annual crops like rye, wheat and barley, it is especially important to put the highest quality seeds in the ground to ensure the highest quality crop,” Redding said.
From July 2009 through June 2010, the Pennsylvania Seed Laboratory received nearly 6,000 seed samples that required almost 9,100 separate tests to assess the quality of the seeds. The report released today lists the variety of seeds tested – flower, vegetable, tree, agricultural, and feed, as well as pasture and lawn mixes – in addition to the wholesale seed distributors.
“Pennsylvania’s 63,000 farms rely on quality seed products to produce food and fiber for our state’s 12.5 million residents, as well as the other millions who benefit from the end products coming from within our borders,” said Redding. “The testing and regulation done on seed products in Pennsylvania help protect the industry and consumers by determining the quality of the seed.”
The department’s Bureau of Plant Industry Agronomic and Regional Services Division administers and enforces the Pennsylvania Seed Act, which provides an overview of official seed inspections and laboratory analyses performed on official samples drawn under the act.
The act requires that all seeds be properly and conspicuously labeled on a container’s exterior before being offered for sale. Seed not tested or labeled properly is being sold illegally and may be suspect in quality. If planted, growers risk planting a product that may not germinate well, producing an inferior crop.
Redding recommends growers purchase seed from a reputable, licensed seed dealer. Anyone offering seed for sale is required by law to be licensed in Pennsylvania for a $25 annual fee.
More information on the state’s seed requirements, including the 2009-10 Seed Report, is available at www.agriculture.state.pa.us by searching “Seed.”